[IAEP] Responsibility requires authority

David Farning dfarning at sugarlabs.org
Mon Jan 12 12:02:26 EST 2009

FUDCon wrapped up yesterday.  Like a good constructionist, I am
Reflecting on what we learned.

Responsibility requires authority - A key point that appeared over and
over at FUDCon was the notion that responsibility requires authority.

The most visible example of this is the release manager.  The release
manager is a tough job.  He is the one who must look at the list of
100 new features that people want to include.   On the feature freeze
date he must say feature A is stable enough to go in while feature B
must wait until next release.

The tough part of the job is that the release manager must look at 100
features.  An individual contributor, paid or unpaid, often has a
favorite feature that they really want included.  The individual
contributor can then lobby full time to have their feature exempted
from the freeze.  If 10 people start spending all of their energy
pushing for exemptaions,  the release manager becomes swamped.
Nothing gets done.  The release slipps

Often, we think of authority and responsibility as coming down from
above.  In community situations, responsibility come in the from of
request from our peers. "Will you help us out on this."  Authority is
granted by not second guessing or undermining the decisions that that
person makes.

There will still be discussion and disagreement.  But, at he end of
the day, we must respect the fact that the decision maker initially
raised his hand to to be responsible for a task.  As such, we must
respect them with the authority necessary to complete their jobs.

I you don't like how someone is doing something, please feel free to
raise you hand and be responsibility for that task next release.


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